We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Nowadays, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a lot like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s just that). You can engage with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complex and a lot like school.
As a specialized form of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to being in a quieter environment.) So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to deal with an increase of additional information. When this occurs, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for those with language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some meaning. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. So if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and understanding again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and understanding speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have far less control than you will with an audiobook. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. This works quite well for practicing following words.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to expand their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe those potatoes look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain requires practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing joining those ideas to words. In your everyday life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last took part in and listened to a complete conversation. You might require some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections more robust. In other words, it’s the perfect way to reinforce your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online sellers. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on just about every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and improve your mind simultaneously!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that comes with many modern hearing aids. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.